AUSTIN — The
legal battle over transgender bathroom rights continues in Texas,
with Attorney General Ken Paxton joining two colleagues in asking the Obama
administration for clarification on its recent letter to schools regarding the
the attorney general’s website had a letter to the U.S. Department of Education
and Department of Justice concerning new questions that have arisen since those
federal entities sent a letter dated May 13 to school districts nationwide. The
letter, which outlined school districts’ responsibilities toward
non-discrimination to be in compliance with Title IX, was written to be “significant
statement on his website, Paxton disagreed.
“The so-called ‘significant guidance’ issued by the
Obama administration raises more questions than it answers, just as it creates
concerns among anyone who believes sex is a biological fact and not a personal
preference,” he said. “As billions of dollars appear to be at stake based upon
schools’ compliance with this guidance, the Obama administration must be extremely
clear about what is and isn’t allowed, and explain how their actions do not add
requirements to the law, as their letter claims.”
Paxton — along with West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Oklahoma Attorney General E.
Scott Pruitt — sent their letter asking several questions, most
of them focusing on whether certain situations would be compatible with Title
IX, which bans sexual discrimination in schools that receive federal funding. The
letter also asks if schools are required to “administer their programs
according to each student’s subjective ‘internal sense of gender,’” and if
students are required to use only the bathroom or locker room of the gender in
which they identify.
The letter from
the attorneys general requested a response by May 24.
The Obama administration
letter directed schools to “treat students consistent with their gender
identity even if their education records or identification documents indicate a
different sex” under Title IX. This applies if a parent or guardian notifies
the school district their child will identify with a gender other than what was
director of legal services at the Texas Association of School Boards, told the SE Texas Record on Thursday that schools around Texas at different points
have dealt with this issue locally on a case-by-case basis.
That is in
line with the letter from the Obama administration, she said.
“It sets up some guidelines from Department of Education, and the
guidelines it sets out are not different from what we’ve already heard from Department
of Education," she said. "What we’ve heard in the past is on case-by-case basis."
As for athletics, Baskin said Texas school sports are governed by the
rules of the University Interscholastic League, which currently state that a school
athlete must play in the sport that categorized for his or her biological
also has his name on another recent legal filing on this issue. Texas is one of
eight states that had a high-ranking official sign a brief supporting a
rehearing of G.G. vs. the Gloucester County School Board, which allows the DOE
to include gender identity in the term “sex,” according to the brief.
said the DOE has a “great deal of authority to interpret the law in this area.”
The brief was filed